He delivers the information with great seriousness and gravity and suddenly I've fallen down the shaft of a well I didn't see. I hear words like necrosis, loss of use, crumbling, deformity. Ice-cold blood slowly trickles from my brain to my senses as I register that whatever revelations I had thought might come to pass in this surgeon's office - a pulled tendon, a sprain, perhaps the ganglion my OT friend was so sure about - those possibilities have evaporated, swallowed by the light of the X-ray image being projected on the wall.
Having only just opened my file for the first time, the surgeon is suddenly rushing from the room to consult with his colleagues - there is a flurry of activity, of doors opening and closing, his white coat whisking around the corner. Then, there is the discussion of treatment - so many terms I can't understand - vocabulary I would later, over time, permanently add to my lexicon. There is an immediacy to his look, an urgency I don't fathom. He wants me to say something, to decide my course of action. I swear I see something close to pity in his eyes. Perhaps it is impatience.
I keep bouncing my two-year old on my lap. Then I say I will call him. I get up, take the elevator to the parking lot, buckle my son in his car seat, then collapse in my own, sobbing.
You're probably expecting me to say that I have cancer or, at the very least, some other terminal, life-threatening condition. Thankfully, no, and no. I have and had Kienbock's Disease, also known as avascular necrosis of the lunate, a small bone in your wrist. Doesn't sound so bad now, does it?
Not life-threatening, true, but life-altering in many ways. Besides not knowing any of the terms my surgeon tossed around that morning, I knew least of all that his most grave pronouncement would set me up to become fearful, paranoid, and singularly obsessed for over two years as I became a reluctant member of a small club fighting for the best treatment possible.
It's the End of the World as We Know it...
|R.E.M. - It's The End Of The World As We Know It .mp3|
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